Elderly man second in SLO County to die of H1N1 flu-related illness

An elderly San Luis Obispo County man has become the second local person to die from complications related to the H1N1 flu, public health officials reported today.

The man, whose age and hometown were not disclosed, died last week after being hospitalized with the virus several weeks ago. Public health officials said the man had underlying health conditions that put him at higher risk for severe illness once he contracted the virus. Those conditions were not identified.

The first death related to H1N1 in San Luis Obispo County came last July, when a middle-aged North County man died after contracting the illness. He too had underlying health concerns that made him more susceptible to becoming severely ill from H1N1. The identity of the North County man was not disclosed at the time of his passing, and county officials did not explain his health conditions, saying only that he was very ill.

While the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that H1N1 flu activity is on the decrease, Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer, said that it is the predominant virus in circulation in California right now, and that the Central Coast’s flu season typically runs from late December through February.

New supplies of vaccine for the H1N1 flu have become available, and county public health is scheduling vaccination clinics next month at its sites in Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. The vaccinations will be given to anyone on Jan. 12 and 13, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the health department offices in those cities. No appointment will be needed.

For more information on the clinics, go to www.slocounty.ca.gov. Or call the public health information line, 788-2903.